But he showed he was back to full fitness, playing 69 minutes of Leicester Tigers' Premiership clash with Newcastle Falcons on Sunday.
Even a late yellow card for a deliberate knock-on failed to spoil his return with Tuilagi happy to finally blow away the cobwebs.
He will now join up with the England side for the their training camp this week, and with the visit of Wales to Twickenham coming up on Sunday, the 22-year-old gladly threw his name into the hat for contention.
"I'll be going down to training with the England boys and we'll take it from there. The boys are doing really well and it'll be really good for me to just go down there and get settled back in there and take things from there," he said.
"I spoke to Stuart last weekend and he said to come down after the game and train and we'll see how it goes. I knew that in the first game back I was bound to be nervous, but I just wanted that ball and I was happy with the first tackle and impact.
"If Stuart asks me if I'm ready to play I'll say 'absolutely'. Of course, I would be nervous but I always like to be nervous before a game, it keeps me on my toes.
"I feel I've knocked the rust off my game. I would have liked to play the whole game and felt I could have."